How many are actually vegetarians in a vegetarian restaurant?
There is a special student restaurant in Aalto University School of Art, Design and Architecture: Kipsari is a student bar, cafe, and restaurant owned by the student union, located in the basement floor. There are three restaurants in the school premises where students get discount for meals, and the other two surely always offer vegetarian options. Why then do the students go to Kipsari while it certainly is not the closest to all students? Are they all vegetarians? Is Kipsari more tasty?
I asked around and got answers from thirty people–although nowhere near being scientific–it turns out that only four out of thirty were vegetarians. That is a little more than 10 per cent although it is still higher than the average according to Vinnari as only 0.5 to 3 per cent of the adult population in Finland is vegetarian depending on the method of calculation.
|First name||Vege- tarian1?||Prefer Kipsari2?||What he or she said3|
|Ilmari||No||Yes||I am socially open to any restaurant, but I prefer Kipsari because the food is nutritious here. They use many different beans that are very good source of vegetable protein. It seems not as institutionalized as others.|
|Saana||No||Yes||I like the atmosphere here. It’s cozy and casual.|
|Anni||No||Yes||I prefer Kipsari because I can see the staff cooking here from scratch.|
|Aurelia||No||Not really||I came here today to take away a Cheese Sandwich. It’s always something small to take away when I come here.|
|Claire||No||Not really||I also come here to pick up something small–tuna sandwich is my favorite.|
|Tero||No||Yes||The food tastes good, and interesting as they are not everyday Finnish food. I also try to support the student union which I am a member of.|
|Ilpo||No||No||I happened to come here today, but I do not come here often. My wife is vegetarian and what’s offered in Kipsari is pretty similar to what I eat at home. I go to other restaurants to compensate–meatballs and stuff.|
|Laura||No||Not really||I am not a student at School of Art, Design and Architecture (TaiK) but School of Technology and Science (TKK). I have not been to the other two restaurants as my group mates prefer Kipsari. I feel that there are more vegetarians in TaiK than in TKK. Why not? It wouldn’t hurt to eat vegetarian food every once in a while.|
|Anders||Yes||Yes||The food here is very nutritious and tasty.|
|Inna||No||Yes||The food is okay, but I like the casual atmosphere here.|
|Heidi||Yes||Yes||I am vegetarian, so is my kid, my husband and the whole family on my side. We eat eggs and dairy, but no animal flesh. Although the other restaurants offer vegetarian options, I like the food here in Kipsari that are prepared by hands of the staff.|
|Elina||No||Yes||The food is simply better here.|
|Inka, Emilia, Anssi||No||Yes||It’s a nice restaurant. We prefer here because we like both the food and atmosphere here.|
|Heidi, Solia||No||Yes||We are not students, but we work at the Cartoon Center (Sarjakuvakeskus) across from here. We like the atmosphere, the food is good and affordable although we do not get the discount. We come here every once in a while.|
|Kealya||No||No||I do not really prefer Kipsari over other restaurants. I am an exchange student here, and there has always been vegetarian restaurant or vegetarian options around, so this doesn’t really feel too special.|
|Jesse||No||Yes||I am a student at University of Helsinki. I study computer science at Kumpula campus, but I come here because I like the food and atmosphere here.|
|Matti||No||Yes||I like the atmosphere.|
|Olga||No||Yes||I prefer Kipsari because the food is tasty and special–they use interesting spices.|
|Taija||No||No||I like Kipsari but it’s not that I come here all the time.|
|Mikaela||No||Yes||I am not a vegetarian, and but I prefer vegetarian meal. I almost always come to Kipsari.|
|Kiia||No||Yes||I like the food here.|
|Hilla||Yes||Yes||I am vegetarian, actually almost vegan, and naturally Kipsari is my number one choice.|
|Tuomas||No||Yes||I do not eat industrially grown meat but I eat game and fish.|
|Nicholas||No||Yes||I am a student at Metropolia but I come here because the food is good and I still get the student discount.|
|Joel||Yes||Yes||Though all the student restaurants provide vegetarian option, I feel that the others just warm up the frozen food whereas here the staff cook everything from scratch, so that the food has home-made feeling to it.|
|Erdem||No||No||Well, it’s more of social thing. I have no problem with Kipsari, and I come here when others want to come.|
|Da-woon||No||Yes.||Recently I have become to like the salad here. It’s quite addictive!|
It is striking that only four out of thirty visitors at Kipsari were vegetarians. One might think–wrongly as it turns out–that the art school is full of hippies and vegetarians. What make Kipsari attractive various and interesting: visitors can see the staff cooking food from scratch; the atmosphere is cozy and casual; interesting spices unusual in Finnish cuisine; nice take-aways such as sandwiches (that are also made from scratch).
Kipsari is open not only for student. Anyone can come and have beer–yes, they sell beer and the price is moderate for non-students as well. In fact Kipsari is rated as in an ordinary restaurant on Eat.fi, which is a well-regarded restaurant review site in Helsinki. So, you may as well give it a try if you happen to come to Helsinki.
1. Varieties of vegetarianism, such as ovo vegetarianism, Lacto, ovo-lacto, veganism et cetera, are not considered.
2. The original question was “Do you prefer Kipsari over other two restaurants in the premises of Aalto School of Art, Design and Architecture?”.
3. It was really quick question and answer, and I have written down quicky what they said, and formulated them back into sentences. Each of them were given a card with my contact information and the URL of this blog, so that they can visit this post and clarify if anything is incorrect.
Posted by Seungho Lee
I am a designer working in Helsinki, Finland. Currently, I am working for the Creative Sustainability master’s programme at Aalto University.